Ho Chi Minh City’s best Vietnamese and Thai restaurants – A Guide

I previously shared with you my favourite spots in Ho Chi Minh City in my last City Guide {missed it? Check out here! } and you already know how surprising this city can be! Family owned restaurants nestled on rooftops, cute coffee shops tucked behind hidden alleyways, chilled-out bars on riverside. Well, it seems like this city can treat you really well! At least, that’s what we feel every time we come back here.

1. Secret Garden – Roof Top restaurant, Top Floor, 158 Pasteur, District 1, Hồ Chí Minh, Vietnam

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One of the spot you don’t want to miss is definitely Secret Garden restaurant, this wonderful place on the rooftop of a historical building. The entrance is a bit hidden, and you have to take the stairs to reach the 6th level, but once you’ve arrived and gotten inside, you will forget all the efforts you had to put in to find this place! Will it be the light, the green surroundings or the home-cooked food that will strike you the most? The most important thing is: you can sit at any corner, you can order anything on the menu and everything just feels right!

2. Hum vegetarian – 32 Võ Văn Tần, District 3, Hồ Chí Minh, Vietnam

© Hum

If you think that vegetarian food is boring then you haven’t visited Hum vegetarian yet! Found in a colonial French villa, it’s a well-designed and spacious restaurant which cares about healthiness food!
Ingredients like lotus, mushrooms, home-made tofu, seaweed, nuts and brown rice can be found in most dishes of Hum vegetarian. But careful: the dishes are even more delicious than they look like!

3. Cuc Gach Quan – 10 Đặng Tất, District 1, Hồ Chí Minh, Vietnam

Every time somebody asks me where they should eat in Saigon, I always tell them to visit Cuc Gach Quan. Designed and built by the architect Tran Binh, it’s such a heart-soothing place with a lot of charm and character. Surrounded by plants, trees and small water sources, it appears like a small oasis in the hustle and bustle of Ho Chi Minh City.
Not to mention the authentic and top-notch Vietnamese cuisine. While writing this, the taste of caramelized stewed pork with pepper in a clay pot just came to my mind very clearly. Cuc Gach Quan is an architectural and culinary oasis in town, so expect a one-of-a-kind experience and a lot of good detail in everything!

4. Tuk Tuk Thai Bistro – 17/11, Lê Thánh Tôn, Quận 1, Hồ Chí Minh, Vietnam

© Jazzy.Bui

The Tuk Tuk, a popular vehicle almost considered as an icon of Thailand, has become a symbol for authentic Thai food in Saigon. Tuk Tuk Bistro is new to you? Check it out: Pad Thai, Tom Yum or Gai Yaang, Bangkok-born chef Saran Jittiboonruan just understands how to spice up every dish with his personal note to please the Saigonese cosmopolitan! Come down to this three storeys house in the heart of Saigon and chill over good food and drinks, either in the stylish black and white style bistro or on the rooftop bar!

5. Tib Restaurant –  187ter Hai Bà Trưng, phường 6, District 3 Hồ Chí Minh, Vietnam

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Tib is one of the oldest restaurant in town, hidden in an back alleyway on Hai Ba Trung street. It’s the right address if you wanna try some authentic specialities from Hue {last ancient capital}. According to legends, the last King of the Nguyen dynasty has contributed in the development of Vietnamese cuisine by pushing and demanding for new dishes.

6. Nha hang Ngon – 160 Pasteur, District 1 Thành phố Hồ Chí Minh.

Ask for it and you will see that everyone in Saigon (and Hanoi) knows Nha hang Ngon. You’re not only coming here for one of the best Vietnamese in town, but also for the exceptionally sumptuous ambience of the location – a French-style colonial building {what else?}.
Nha hang Ngon has become so famous that it is now a very popular address among residents and tourists alike.

7. Quan Bui – 17a Ngô Văn Năm, Bến Nghé, Quận 1, HO CHI MINH CITY

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Quan Bui is probably one of the most successful restaurant project in recent years. Started with a simple concept – bringing authentic Vietnamese food to Saigon, Quan Bui is popular amongst young and old. The menu offers a wide range of tastes from around Vietnam. Each of the 4 floors of the colonial architecture offers a different dining experience. The leafy green rooftop garden for a pre-dinner drink is a must!

8. Coriander –  Thai restaurants – 16 Bui Vien, District 1, Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam

Located in the backpacker area of Ho Chi Minh City with fairly modest interiors, Coriander  can’t be referred to as “hip”. But who cares? The menu is stuffed with authentic Siamese delights that will treat your palate! Fried tofu in Thai style is my vegetarian favourite, the curry variations are excellent, the fried rice seafood claypot is my favourite, and a tasty Thai salad makes you just crave for more!

9. Saigon Vegan – 378/3 Võ Văn Tần P.5, Q.3, Tp.HCM

This is definitely my favourite vegan/vegetarian restaurant in Saigon. I had many delicious meals here with friends, loved ones and myself. It was a treat every time. The fried lemongrass tofu, Fried Eggplant with Flour and Caramelized Tofu rolled Coral in Claypot just exceeded all my expectations! Please try Saigon Vegan!

10. Mountain Retreat – Ward D.1, 36 Lê Lợi, Bến Nghé, Vietnam

© Mountain Retreat

“Stay away from the hustle&bustle” is the motto at Mountain Retreat, a fairly well-hidden restaurant – like Secret Garden –  on the top floor of an apartment block. Its beautiful rustic, unpretentious setting makes one feel rather “homey”. Most of the Vietnamese food here is rooted in Ha Giang (mountain)province, as acclaimed by the owner. Typically traditional Vietnamese dishes like Banh Xeo (Vietnamese Crepe) or Ba Roi Chien Gion (deep fried porc) can be found here, but it’s this little twist of the tangy spiciness and a wide range of shrimp dips that makes the difference!

 

BON APPETIT!

Photography – unless stated differently – via La Mangosteen.

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